Left the house at 5am, got to the Tallahassee airport at 5:30 am with a van full of sleeping kids. Minor delays...Original flight on AA got cancelled and postponed to 1pm, but needed to be at SLC at 1pm. Got a different flight, but will be 30 min. late to SLC. (By Sis. Marshall's mom.)
When our hearts are determined to do right, the Lord gives us the power to do so.
So yesterday, I was watching The Other Side of Heaven because I was getting all pumped about serving a mission and junk. Anyways, there was one part of the movie that really stuck out to me that teaches a pretty dang good lesson. It led me to read a talk by Groberg in the October 1993 General Conference.
BACKSTORY- John Groberg was a missionary way back in the day for several islands in Tonga. In order to get from one island to the other, the only way to travel was by boat. One day, a member told him that if they would be on a certain harbor on a particular island the next day, there would be a family who would listen to the discussions. The next morning he, and a couple other men, began to travel in that direction. As they started to get further into the Pacific, the wind had completely stopped, which became a problem because in order to sail, you need wind. Groberg and the men prayed for wind several times, but there was no wind whatsoever. Groberg didn't understand, he was confident that the Lord could control the elements to bring them the way they needed to go since it was a righteous desire. Still, the harder they prayed, there was still no wind. Finally, one of the older men told Groberg to get in the rowboat because there was a family there waiting for them, and that they had to leave now. "The old man concentrated his efforts and energy on fulfilling the calling he had from the Lord—to get a missionary to a family that wanted to hear the gospel. He was the Lord’s wind that day." After hours of rowing, they reached their destination and they taught the family, who eventually were baptized.
I think a lot of times, we sit and wait for miracles to happen. We think that since it is a righteous desire, it can be handed to us without working to receive them. I know that I am sometimes guilty of hoping for something without doing my part because of fear of what someone may think or even laziness. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:17). Sure, I can say I have all the faith in the world, but without the willingness to work, we do not truthfully have faith.
"We should always pray for help, but we should always listen for inspiration and impressions to proceed in ways different from those we may have thought of. On the boat, five men prayed, but only one heard and acted. God does hear our prayers. God knows more than we do. He has infinitely greater experience than we have. We should never stop moving because we think our way is barred or the only door we can go through is closed."
We are all instruments in the Lord's hands. The Lord's work could not progress if his servants did not play a HUGE roll in bringing the gospel to the world. In several months, there will almost be 100,000 missionaries in the field all around the world. In our own ways, we can be the Lord's wind; not just as missionaries, but as those who believe in Christ. If we truly have faith in Christ, we need to be ready and willing to do the things that he asks us to do, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem, because through Christ, nothing is impossible.
I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me. (Philip. 4:13)
Hey macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?
In case you were unaware, shopping for mission clothes is pretty dang difficult. This morning, I got up and went to Goodwill to see if I could find some skirts that would go below my knees, and few shirts that would go with it. Finding skirts below your knees that look cute is pretty much an impossible task, but with the help of Macklemore, old ladies, and probably a couple fleas, I was able to get the goods. I took a couple super sexy selfies so you can see my.... stylin' outfits.
and the grand finale, Minnie mouse
this mission thing is about to get real
HOLD UP. I REPORT WHEN?
So I just got a call from my Bishop telling me that I leave on MAY 8TH instead of the 22nd. AHH! This just got real! One Month. One more month and I am out of here, and off to Sao Paolo (that is, if I get my visa on time). How crazy is that!? I haven't even bought my clothes, or anything for that matter. Two days ago, I had 40-some odd days before I left, now I have barely 30. I am just reminding myself CONSTANTLY that "Faith in the Lord requires Faith in his Timing." And boy does he know about timing. So, now that my mission is in sight, I will have to get everything done. I am such a procrastinator!!!
...in other news.....
For those of you who aren't Mormon, twice a year, we get as many of the +14 million members together on Saturday and Sunday and the Leaders of the Church speak to us via Internet Broadcast. If they don't have internet, they can watch at their church buildings, or several other places. The missionary age announcement had such a huge effect on the Church. Currently there are 65,634 full-time missionaries out on the field. 20,000 more have their mission calls, and are waiting to enter the Missionary Training Center (that's me!), and there are about 6,000 applications per week! Since October, 58 new missions have been opened! Again, for those of you who aren't mormon, this is a BIG DEAL! Oh how the work is progressing!!
Anywhoooo, so we have one Apostle named Elder Russel M. Nelson. Just so you know, he's pretty awesome. All of the apostles are pretty dang cool! But his talk was a lot about how amazing it is that all of these chilluns are so excited to go and preach the gospel! I gotta say, it is pretty spectacular.. and then some. He talked about how RIGHT NOW is the time to preach the gospel, whether you're a missionary or not, because in all actuality, we are all missionaries, with or without a name tag. So he was pretty much just saying, BE READY to give a reason why we live the way we do. So it got me thinking. Why do I do the things I do. People say that my Church is a strict church. I guess that's a way to look at it. But I've never seen it that way. I live this way because I CHOOSE to live this way. It's not my parents' decision. It's not my leaders' decision. I have grown up, and I have learned what is right and what is wrong, and while people can teach me to do what is right, it is only up to me whether I do what I know is right, and what I know is wrong. AND THE BLESSINGS THAT COME FROM CHOOSING THE RIGHT! While you can say, "what blessings?" Whether you know it or not, every choice has a consequence. Not just an "eternal consequence". For example, if you eat a gallon of icecream, you're not going to go to hell, but you will likely get a stomach ache. If you choose to smoke or drink, you have to deal with the issues of getting addicted, as well as other consequences. Personally, I don't view these decisions as "I can't. I'm Mormon." It's "I won't, because I can be doing something better with my time and energy." I choose to do these things because in the long run, I am so much happier.
And sure, I do these things because I believe that if I continue to try and do better every day, and be more Christ-like, I'll be able to live with my Heavenly Father again. And a lot of people can question me by saying, "how can you be so sure that there is something after this life?" Simple. I have faith. And have I ever been let down by faith? Never. No, angels haven't fallen from the sky telling me that the Gospel is true, BUT, I have seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ change SO MANY LIVES, and I have seen miracles in my life and in the lives of those around me because of His teachings.
So, anyways, to conclude my rambling. I just think it's awesome that I get to say that I am one of the nearly 90,000 kids going out and getting ready to share that happiness that us 14 million Mormons feel, and just so ya know, it feels pretty great.
This last week, I’ve spent a lot of time studying different talks and scriptures. Before I go out and begin teaching, I want to really dig into Preach My Gospel and do as it says: study, believe, love, live and teach. Teaching scares me so much. I’ve never considered myself a good speaker. I trip over words, and I have a hard time expressing ideas. And then speaking in Portuguese is a completely different thing. When this fear creeps into my head, I remember Moses and Enoch. Both, when told to teach, were afraid because they were “slow of speech”. I think about what great leaders and examples both of these men turned out to be. The strength that the Lord gives these people is truly amazing. Have you ever just thought about how crazy awesome the story of Enoch is? He’s called to teach people who, according to scriptures, are a pretty wicked group of people. At first Enoch is afraid to go and teach these people, but my favorite thing is that the Lord responds by saying, “Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.” Enoch ends up going and teaching these people, and they are not just converted, but they are so righteous that THE ENTIRE CITY IS RAISED UP.
“Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled.” That is such an amazing promise, and I have seen this promise fulfilled time and time again as I have seen all of these young men and women go out and teach the gospel. Just think about it. Girls and boys in their early twenties (and now younger) are going out and teaching the world how to come closer to Christ. And a lot of times they are teaching in a foreign language. Not only that, there has been SO MUCH SUCCESS! I know for a fact that if there wasn’t any form of divine intervention, there is NO WAY that this is possible.
This week, as I’ve kept Easter in mind, I’ve thought a lot about not just the redeeming factor of the atonement, but the enabling power of the atonement. I read a quote from Elder Bednar, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which said, “I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities. The belief that through our own “sheer grit, willpower, and discipline” we can manage just about anything seems to be widespread these days. This simply is not true. Heavenly Father and the Savior can inspire, comfort, and strengthen us in our time of need, if we remember to cast our burdens at Their feet.”
Currently, we are living in a world where we are taught to be very independent. There is nothing wrong with being independent, but I think it’s also important to know that there are some things that we just can’t do on our own. I know that this is true. Since I have been preparing, I know that without that additional help from my Savior, I could not learn all that I need to know before I leave to teach the gospel. In order to receive that help, we need to be willing to ask for it.
One of my favorite things since I've been home is going to Institute. At first I was a little hesitant to go, because I abhor driving down to FSU, but Institute has become one of the highlights of my week. What's nice about Institute apposed to a religion class is that I can spend more time learning from the spirit, rather than worrying about a grade.
Today we were studying in Galatians and Ephesians, and my favorite section of this reading was Ephesians 6, where we talked about the armour of God. To be honest, the last time I remember really thinking about the armour of God was when I was in Primary, which was dang near close to an eternity ago. Really.
Anyways, I think some of my favorite scriptures in this section were verses eleven and twelve, which says:
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
These verses stood out to me because the majority of us aren't fighting temporal battles. All of us, however, are fighting these internal battles against temptations, and right now, Satan is trying his darndest to persuade us to do what we shouldn't be doing. We live in a time where good looks bad and bad looks good. That's why it is SO IMPORTANT for people to have strength to stand up for what is right, even if that means you have to stand alone.
With my report date still a few months away (May 22, 2013), I've been working incredible hard to get everything I need ready for me to leave. I'm supposed to report to the Brazil MTC, but there are some visa issues with Brazil, so it may be the Provo MTC, and hopefully I will get my visa soon! At the same time, wherever I am supposed to be is where I am supposed to be.
Getting prepared to serve a full-time mission is some tough stuff. Refamiliarizing yourself with the scriptures is a difficult task in general, and then putting into Portuguese is a completely different animal! I just keep going back to what I know. I know the Church is true. I know that Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, loves his children. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet.
I've been reading the Book of Mormon in English and Portuguese to get familiarized with words. It really helps, but so far I haven't learned much conversational things. It scares the crap out of me! But I keep remembering and reminding myself that I am not the teacher, the Spirit is, and through the spirit, I will be able to teach those who are looking for the Gospel.
This last week, I've felt the God's love for me so strongly as I have been preparing myself spiritually to teach His children. I was able to go to the temple today, and it was absolutely incredible. I keep thinking about when Christ was talking to Peter, and he reemphasized that if you love me, feed my sheep. I've also thought a lot about how I need to love everyone. If I am going to do the Lord's work, I need to learn to love. That is what I have mostly gained from this week. Christ taught through love. Our Church is all about love. We love our families and we believe that we will be with them after this life. The gospel is such a wonderful blessing in my life. It has brought both me and my family so much happiness, and if we truly care about those around us, we shouldn't be afraid of sharing that happiness with them. I read a story earlier this week about a lady who was a convert to the Church and she said, "I don't think you members know what you have. Don't you understand the world is in a famine? Don't you know we are starving for what you have? I am like a starving person being led to a feast. And over these eight and one-half weeks I have been able to feast in a way I have never known possible."
Those words are so true. There are people out there looking for the happiness and the knowledge that we have. We shouldn't be afraid to share it in fear of what others may think. This is why I want to become a missionary. I have been blessed so much and I have felt the Savior's love so strongly in my life. I want everyone to feel the joy that I have felt as I have prayed and read the scriptures. I want others to understand that Heavenly Father loves each of His children and that we have the potential to become so much in this life and after this life.